Growing up, I remember four rotating dinners upon my TV dinner tray: Kraft mac-n-cheese, fish sticks, spaghetti marinara and chicken pot pie.
Three out of four came from a box.
I loved them all, but there was something special about those chicken pot pies -- they were all mine, and I didn't have to share the contents of my little tin tray with anyone. There were no family style dilemas to be had while eating pot pie - it allowed for total culinary independence, and that was empowering. I ate a lot of those little pies, served up on a folding fiberglass TV dinner tray, inlayed with maple leaves and little gold squiggles. Janet, Chrissy and Jack Tripper, along with George and Weezie Jefferson, were there with me for every last bite.
Flash forward thirty years and I still love me some chicken pot pie comfort food in the winter! The only difference now is, I make my pies from scratch.
On this day last week, I made a double batch of pies for myself and a friend *in need*. This recipe, a real favorite of mine, is an adaptation of Just Chicken Pie from America's Best Lost Recipes, a Cook's Country Magazine book.
You just know it's going to be good when the recipe starts you out melting a stick of butter.
My modification to the printed recipe come by adding carrots and peas to the pie.
If you can get through dinner without eating the entire pie, you should know it makes great leftovers!
CHICKEN POT PIE
- 2 1/2 pounds bone-in, skin-on split chicken breasts
- Salt and pepper
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 celery rib, chopped fine
- 1 large carrot, diced to 1/4"
- 6 oz of frozen peas, thawed
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 3 scallions, chopped
- 3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 large egg, beaten, for brushing the top of the pie
Double-crust pie dough:
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 8 tablespoons vegetable shortening, cut into
- 1/2-inch pieces and chilled
- 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces and chilled
- 6-8 tablespoons ice water
1. Make double-crust pie dough (see below) and allow for at least one hour of refrigeration.
3. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Place on the prepared pan, skin-side up, and roast until the temperature registers 160 degrees, 30 to 40 minutes. Let cool to room temperature, remove and discard the skin, and cut the meat from the bone and shred the chicken into 1-inch pieces. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees.
4. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook the celery and carrot until softened, about 5 minutes. Add peas and toss. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the flour and cook until it begins to brown, about 1 minute. Stir in the milk, broth and zest and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes.
5. Remove saucepan from heat, stir in the chicken and scallions, and season with 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon of fresh ground pepper. Let the filling cool until just warm, about 30 minutes.
6. Remove dough from refrigerator and let soften slightly at room temperature before rolling it out into two 12-inch circles on a floured work surface and fit on circle into pie dish.
7. Spoon the chicken mixture into the pie shell and sprinkle with the cheddar cheese. Top with the remaining chilled circle of dough. Trim all but 1/2 inch of the dough overhanging the edge of the pie plate. Press the top and bottom crusts together, then tuck the edges underneath. Crimp the dough evenly around the edge of the pie, using your fingers.
8. Cut four 2-inch slits in the top of the dough, brush with the beaten egg, and bake until the crust is deep golden brown, 45 to 55 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes. Serve.
For double-crust pie dough:
1. Process the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor until combined. Scatter the chilled shortening over the top and process until the mixture has the texture of coarse sand. Scatter the butter pieces over the top and process the mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs. Transfer to a bowl.
2. Sprinkle 6 tablespoons of the ice water over the mixture. Stir and press the dough together, using a stiff rubber spatula, until the dough sticks together. If the dough does not come together, stir in the remaining water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it does.
3. Divide the dough into two even pieces and flatten each into a 4-inch disk. Wrap the disks tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
(The dough can be refrigerated, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 2 months. Let the frozen dough thaw on the countertop until malleable before rolling.)
This day last year: "Grandma Helen's Charlotte Rousse"